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Letter to DHS Secretary - Position on AUO

The Honorable Jeh Johnson
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Nebraska Avenue Center, NW
Washington, DC 20528

 
Dear Secretary Johnson,

I am writing in response to the recent decision to decertify all law enforcement officers in headquarters and training positions at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from continuing to receive Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO).  It is my understanding that the decision to terminate this premium pay effectively eliminates 25% of the pay for hundreds of DHS employees.  In light of the substantial financial impact this decision will have on Department's dedicated law enforcement personnel, I request additional information about this decision and the rationale under which it was made.

I am concerned about the findings of employee AUO abuse raised in the October 2013 report released by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).  This report highlighted that the Department has failed to implement the proper internal controls and oversight over the AUO system but it did not conclude that headquarters and training law enforcement personnel are ineligible to receive AUO.

It is my understanding that while existing statutes and regulations do not affirmatively include headquarters and training law enforcement personnel as eligible to receive AUO, neither do they exclude them from such coverage.  In fact, these components have been earning AUO since before the Department was established in 2003.  Additionally, it appears that the decision to rescind AUO pay was made prior to the completion of internal reviews being conducted by component agencies of policies and procedures as it relates to the administration of the AUO pay system.

In light of these concerns, I request information on the following issues by May 30, 2014:

1. Based on separate memorandums released on January 28, 2014 by the former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, the component agencies are conducting an internal review of policies and procedures as it relates to the administration of the AUO pay system in light of the OSC finding.  When will this review be completed?

 2. Separately, is it true that the decision to eliminate AUO and effectively reduce by 25 percent the pay for impacted groups was made before a comprehensive review of the position descriptions, workload demands, and hours worked had been completed?  Please provide documents upon which the Department relied on in making the decision to cancel AUO pay for these employees.

3. I understand that "other" overtime pay may be available for the impacted groups to ease the impact of the decision, but that this alternative system has not been activated.  Please provide information about the alternate forms of overtime provided to those law enforcement officers no longer deemed eligible for AUO, and the date upon which it will be available to affected employees.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.  The dedicated employees who fill DHS's law enforcement ranks deserve no less.

Sincerely,

PETER T. KING
Member of Congress